John Heginbotham talks about his new dance company
Mark Morris veteran John Heginbotham talks about his company's performance at Lincoln Center Out of Doors
Thu Aug 1 2013
Time Out New York: What is she doing for this?
John Heginbotham: We actually don’t know. For that duet I made up, she went vintage and made almost what looks like a 1950s period costume. It’s a duet for a man and a woman, and the woman—Lindsey—it looks like Audrey Hepburn. Not Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but Christian Dior. And then she gave it a futuristic look. She found a fabric that is reflective; it’s like a mirror, but you can sew it. So she added that as a decorative item and the man’s costume is quite straightforward—pants and a shirt, and she also gave him a tie made of the material. For me, that material represents the electronic aspects, but the period costume is more the ’50s, which was one of Raymond Scott’s heydays. So I think we both thought going into Lincoln Center, we were going to continue with that concept, but then we had this revelation so we don’t know what to do. We thought, You know what? This should not be a period piece. We’re going to do unitards.
Time Out New York: I think that’s good.
John Heginbotham: I think it’s good too. I don’t know what kind of unitard it’s going to be—maybe there’s going to be a little flow somewhere in there. I don’t know if it’s long sleeves or short sleeves or shorts or how it’s going to exactly be, but I think it’s going to be more abstract.
Time Out New York: Do you ask her about the dance or do you keep that part of the collaboration separate?
John Heginbotham: It’s so interesting. Well, I will say we talk about everything. I think the reason I have never thought about that is I guess we do. We talk about everything. She’s very respectful of my space of creating material. She’s often not there at the beginning of the process, so by the time she actually sees something for us to discuss, there’s quite a bit created. But once it is created, she will help me figure things out about what is working and what is not. She never says, “I think you should do a pas de bourrée fan kick.” She’s more like, “I think it’s too busy,” or “How would you feel about reversing these sections?” I think she also could feel very free saying to me, “That completely sucks,” or “I would not do that.”
Time Out New York: That’s great.
John Heginbotham: Oh my God, it’s the thing that no one ever tells you and it’s the most important of all: How would you know? You might suspect it, but sometimes being inside of it you’re not the person with perspective. It’s really good to have someone tell you the truth. You know what? You only need one. It wouldn’t be good to have too many.
Time Out New York: Are you dancing in this?
John Heginbotham: No. It’s easier not to—and talk about perspective. It really is valuable. It helps me to be able to stand away from it and also not to be distracted about what am I going to do or how am I going to prepare to be that physical if that’s the direction it goes in. I would love to dance in something sometime, but not now.
Time Out New York: How old were you when you started dancing?
John Heginbotham: I think I was seven. I started because I was in a play—A Christmas Carol. Tiny Tim. I fell in love with theater in general, and my mom recognized it. She enrolled me in a local dance studio and put me in everything. I think just because she was so great about, well, I’ll just expose him to all of it and then he’ll make decisions. She was definitely not a stage mother. She was…
Time Out New York: About giving you options?
John Heginbotham: Options.
Time Out New York: Where are you from?
John Heginbotham: Alaska.
Time Out New York: That’s crazy.
John Heginbotham: It is crazy. Have you ever been there?
Time Out New York: No. But I’d love to go.
John Heginbotham: What would you do there? Do you like the outdoors?
Time Out New York: Maybe more than I have in the past…?
John Heginbotham: Okay. Okay. Because I don’t. I don’t like to camp.
Time Out New York: Oh, I hate to camp. Is that what you meant?
John Heginbotham: Yes. People like to go to Alaska specifically to camp. You don’t have to do that. You could go to Alaska and not do that.
Time Out New York: I hate camping.
John Heginbotham: [Quickly] Don’t do it. Go on day trips.